Protean Electric wheels out new propulsion for cars, may triple staff

The electrification of the automobile is
necessitating a remake of the internal-combustible engine, a largely
unchanged staple of vehicles for the last century.

One firm is moving
reinvention out from under the hood and into a car’s wheels as the
latest innovation in automotive green technology.

Protean
Electric, which has a test facility in Troy, is working on an automotive
retrofit that would help propel a car with electricity from its wheels.
These electric motor packages could be retrofitted or built into
vehicles via their wheels, cutting down on energy lost in drive trains
and other aspects of traditional vehicles. Protean Electric is
reinventing an idea that the founder of Porsche used at the turn of the 20th Century.

“It’s
simply rediscovering a more efficient way of propelling a vehicle that
had been invented a decade before the Model T,” says Andrew Vallance, a
business development executive for Protean Electric.

The
company is under the leadership of Bob Purcell, the man responsible for
commercializing the world’s first modern electric vehicle, General
Motors’ EV-1. The company is halfway through the testing and approval
process for its technology. It hopes to begin production within the next
18-24 months and eventually sell or license the technology to a major
auto supplier or automaker.

Protean Electric employs 90 people in
the United Kingdom, Germany and the U.S., including 10 people in Troy.
It expects to “at least double, if not triple its staff in Troy over the
next few months,” Vallance says.

Source: Andrew Vallance, business development executive for Protean Electric
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.